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Fishing Results

Treachery, Collusion Abound as GRTC Takes Home the Striper Showdown Cup

By a Dude Who Was There


Questions. So many questions as I sit here and reflect on what was supposed to be a good-natured, honest, and fair competition between two “friends,” sister Tech Councils from Richmond and Hampton Roads. What instead transpired was the makings of a conspiracy to the highest degree, caught by this writer as he sat on his boat, innocent and blind to the subtle winks, deft smirks, and clandestine cell phone calls of the opposing team. As we rolled into the marina at 6 am, a strange feeling came over me, like a panther staring at my back from the cover of the trees above. To record my tale, and to ensure that no details were to be embellished upon later review, I kept a running diary of the day’s affairs. While the times may be a bit hazy, the particulars are not. None of the below information has fallen to exaggeration – for this dark tale needs none. And so I present to you the Diary of the Striper Showdown, and the theft of the Great Cup.

IMG_2012.JPG6:36 am                Everyone is patiently waiting for his or her respective captains to launch. There seems to be a great deal of segregation on behalf of the GRTC competitors. I can hear whispers carried on the wind as they speak in hushed voices, every now and then pointing and offering knowing laughter. But what do they know?

These guys seem awfully chummy for having just met

7:10 am                We are off in a boat comprised of both GRTC and HRTC members. The land is beginning to fall off behind us as we plow ahead towards the run of striped bass. Chip Farmer, leader (ringleader?) of GRTC is speaking closely with the captain of our vessel. They seem to be becoming fast friends. The captain is using a GRTC drink coosie … and has a GRTC duffel … and a GRTC friendship bracelet. I’m sure this means nothing.

8:20 am                The fish attack. The first mate directs people towards which bending rod to grab. He waves me off the first rod and hands it to a GRTC member. I am likewise waved off of the second and third rod, only to have him present me with another pole, exclaiming “this one’s for you.” I grab the pole and begin to reel in, feeling almost no resistance. Behind me I can hear the oohs and ahhs as giant bass are pulled in by the GRTCers. These sounds of impression are immediately replaced by laughter as my bait-like bass is finally brought into the boat. “Well that’s not gonna feed anyone,” the first mate jokes. One of the GRTCers tries to comfort my embarrassment. “But it’s a good looking fish. I think you caught the cutest.” Her eyes seemed kind. Her smile seemed genuine. But I could tell – she was sticking it to me.

Another monster for GRTC and its First Mate

IMG_2033.JPG9:30 am                Two more cycles of fish have been caught, and it seems like we’re sticking to the same script. Several times I have been waved off of poles, only to be handed a rod with a goldfish at the end of it. Chip reels in another monster. He and the first mate exchange knowing winks, as do the first mate and the other GRTC members present. Trying to curry favor with the first mate, I shoot a quick wink and a slow, knowing nod. He scowls and turns back to baiting the lines. Perhaps my attempt at infiltration was misinterpreted as flirting. I quickly grab a beer and a cigar in an attempt to recover some sense of manhood.

Another monster for GRTC and it First Mate

10:45 am              Quiet on the seas. The GRTC members keep returning to the fish hold. What on earth can they be doing in there? If GRTC Tech Nite 08 buttons or GRTC golf balls are found in the bellies of several fish, I’m calling foul.

11:30 am              Chip’s been on the phone for thirty minutes now. It appears that many of the other boats are not sharing our success. Chip speaks with the captain. Within twenty minutes, three GRTC boats appear directly behind us, looking to share in our good run.  I see no HRTC boats around; they have been sent scattering across the five winds. Seeing the boats crowd behind us, the captain and Chip exchange a fist pound. I exchange sour glances with the other HRTC passengers.

Writer’s Note – Shortly after the above entry, we ran out of beer and were left with scotch and whiskey. The next couple of entries are partly illegible, partly unintelligible, and wholly crass; we will leave them out and continue a few hours later when sanity and scotch finally called a truce.

2:00 pm                Finally, back on dry land. GRTC members are swapping high-fives, low-fives, behind-the-back fives, and chest bumps. HRTC members are walking around like the 1972 US men’s basketball team after its stunning loss to Russia. No one really knows what happened or how it happened, but we know it’s not good and brace for the worst.

2:45 pm                At Cocomo’s and stuffing my face. There’s fresh fish, crab balls, macaroni and cheese, meatballs, salad – really too much to list. The tallies are finished and the results are in for the competition. I try to keep my food down as I listen to the results:

Final Tally
GRTC – 45.5 LBS
HRTC – 42.0 LBS

Most LBS Per Boat
GRTC / HRTC Split Boat “Armadilla” – 65 LBS 10 oz (did not count in overall tally)

Most LBS Per Individual
Brian Sperberg (GRTC)

Largest Single Fish
Sean Sheppard (HRTC) – 37” 19.5 LBS

Well, even though we got dominated; good for Sean. He really brought it home for HRTC. Wait, doesn’t he go to school in Richmond? Hmmmmmmm…………

3:15 pm                Although I am absolutely stuffed, I go back for another plate of the fried fish. It’s too good!

3:25 pm                I shouldn’t have eaten that last plate…….

3:45 pm                I watch as the cup is taken away. Like the Stanley Cup, I will not be in its presence for another year. I can almost hear it calling out to me, like a daughter torn from its mother’s …. Err …. father’s grasp. Of course, my body could also be going through shock from the shear amount of food in ball form that I have just digested in a short period of time.

4:00 pm                After gathering my belongings, I journey out to the parking lot. On the way to the car, I trip over something unseen and fall to the gravel lot. Getting up and dusting myself off, I turn to identify what had tripped this usually graceful young man. My jaw drops as my eyes fall on the culprit – a pile of fishy GRTC buttons and golf balls – I’d say about 4 pounds worth.

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